Leicester City and Southampton head into their meeting at the King Power Stadium on Sunday with very little to play for on the final day.
Both sides have endured disappointing campaigns for differing reasons, but they will be out to end the season on a high note, with Premier League prize money for league finish very much the focus.
Failing to qualify for continental football of any kind for the first time in three seasons means the 2021-22 season has failed to live up to expectations for Leicester, despite their run to the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.
A run of five Premier League games without a win over the last several weeks looked to have set the Foxes up for a poor bottom-half finish in the table, but a mini revival in their last three outings looks to have secured a top-half place.
Brendan Rodgers’ side head into the final day in ninth place following their 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Thursday evening, with the point lifting them above Brighton & Hove Albion.
James Maddison’s long-range strike had given the visitors the lead at Stamford Bridge just six minutes into the game, but after Marcos Alonso equalised before the break, it was backs to the wall for much of the encounter.
Leicester only mustered one other shot of any kind during the game, but a defensively resolute display was enough to seal an impressive result at the Blues.
The performance of Maddison was the standout positive though, who extended his fine form with his third goal in as many games, as the 25-year-old looks to have returned to his best in the closing stages of the season.
Sunday’s hosts may not have any continental qualification to play for on the final day, but with the potential of climbing one place or dropping as many as two, the difference in prize money could prove significant ahead of the summer transfer window, so Rodgers will be looking for his side to finish on a high note for sure.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates with his players after the match on April 16, 2022© Reuters
Meanwhile, visitors Southampton have endured a disappointing Premier League campaign at the other end of the table.
A run of nine defeats and just one win from their last 12 games in all competitions leaves the Saints in 15th place ahead of the final day, just five points above the relegation places.
So a drop out of the top flight was never really in doubt despite their struggles of late, but the 2021-22 season has become another year of failed progression at the St Mary’s Stadium.
Last time out, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side had begun so well at home to title-challengers Liverpool, with Nathan Redmond’s deflected effort providing the Saints with an early lead on Tuesday evening.
However, Takumi Minamino fired in against his former club to haul Jurgen Klopp’s side level, and from this moment, a second-string Liverpool side took the game to Southampton and dominated proceedings.
Joel Matip’s stooping header midway through the second half condemned Hasenhuttl’s men to a 2-1 defeat, thus extending their poor conclusion to the season.
Like their hosts, league position is all that is left to play for at the King Power Stadium, although Southampton are unable to climb any higher, and may only drop one position at most depending on Everton’s result at Arsenal.